Of late, I have received a few requests for writing a post about fitness/weight loss measures.
Honestly, I am a person who is strictly against promoting a specific body image and I believe everyBODY is beautiful. If you feel that you would look pretty only if you are thin, please remember that you are beautiful already and it is not a crime to have a little flab. Unless you realize you are beautiful, no amount of weight loss will help you feel good. Do not pay attention to people who tell you that you must be a certain size to look attractive. Instead, focus on building body strength and stamina. If you feel fit at a size 16, you are perfectly fine and have nothing to worry about. As clearly visible, I am not skinny myself!
However, we all know that a combination of healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet and a good workout regime is essential for a fit body and mind.
So here are a few tips to improve general health and fitness:
- Eat more of home cooked food – This is my number 1 rule as this is what makes the biggest difference. When you cook your own food, you know what is going into the dish. You can keep a track of your nutritional ingredients and increase or decrease the intake of a specific item.
- Never, ever skip breakfast – Eat breakfast like a king. It is controversial as to which breakfast item is the best but anything is better than skipping breakfast. I generally satiate all my higher calorie cravings like cakes or fries during breakfast so that I have the entire day to burn them off. As for the other meals, I time and weigh them sensibly and try not to eat anything after 7pm.
- Water, water everywhere – Start your day with a glass of lukewarm water and a dash of lemon (you can also add some honey). I make sure that I drink at least 8-10 glasses of water throughout the day. Keeps me hydrated, aids digestion and makes me feel full.
- Switch your drinks and snacks– Replace alcoholic and other high calorie-high fructose beverages with fresh squeezed juices, skimmed/soy milk, herbal teas and good old water. Throw out the beer and cola cans (including diet colas) and stock up on fresh, healthy alternatives. Similarly, replace chips and cookies with fruits, carrot sticks and wholegrain crackers
- Do not assign cheat days – Although popularly advised, I have never benefited from having cheat days. The body generally craves what it does not get. The key is to provide everything in moderation before the craving begins. I find it more helpful to have two bites (not slices, just bites) of pizza or a quarter plate of pasta after my bowl of oats in the morning. I do not even need to do this everyday because even if I indulge in a few bites of my favorite dish once in 2-3days, it satisfies my taste buds.
- Share and split your food – Try to share food, especially when eating in a restaurant. I always share a dessert with my husband which means cutting down half the usual calories straight away! Also remember to split your 3 daily meals into 5 or 6. Smaller portions - more times. Include nuts and dry fruits into you diet as they make you feel full for a longer time.
- Avoid the car – Walking and cycling are two of the best exercises. Leave the car or motorbike behind and get on your feet. It does not just tone up those legs but also tones up your thighs, waist and belly. Similarly, leave the elevator car and hop up the stairs. Keep your heart AND the environment healthy!
- Moderate but regular workouts – Yoga has proven to be one of the best workouts for me as it has the least side effect. It focuses on general mind and body health rather than weight loss. Weight loss would just be a pleasant by-product! The safest and easiest asanas are Pranayam and Suryanamaskar. I do a few light stretches and Pranayam followed by 30-40 sets of Suryanamaskar 4 days a week (caution: Do not practice more than 10 sets of any asana at a single stretch at least for the first 20-30days). As for the rest of the 3days, I walk around 5-6kms, skip rope or dance a little.
- Workout clothes – Do not hesitate from buying proper workout clothes. You are bound to feel more encouraged to work out, once you have spent a good amount of money and time in the preparation. Having breathable, properly fitted clothes also help ease out your workout sessions. A good, well fitting sports bra for girls is a must.
- Confidence – I repeat again, nothing will work if you do not have self confidence. Have the confidence to live life on your terms and treat your body the way you want to. Have the confidence to care only about being fit and not worry about being fat.
Please feel free to contribute your views and suggestions in the comment box!